Staying Shiny

My life as a Uber-geek in a Bridal world

Being a Farm Girl

So the last two weeks have been crazy and we've put a lot of mile on our little car.  Usually we go to the farm every May long weekend to brand cattle but this year things went a little differently.  Friday (the week before the long weekend) I get a text from J while I was at work that we needed to head out to the farm asap as things had gone bad at the farm.  We rushed out after I got off work and found that things were a bit of a mess.  The cattle where breaking down fences and a new baby colt had been attacked by a coyote. By the time we got there, J's dad had gotten the cattle into the big corral and the colt and it's mom into a stall in the barn.

We got straight to work.  Me, J, B and my nephew T2 went to work sorting the cattle into 3 groups.  One to stay in the field at the farm, one to go to the community pasture, and one to go to the west pasture.  It was going well until I realized that the list I was working off wasn't divided correctly and we had too many cattle in one pen.  It was getting really dark by this point so it was hard to see the tags in the cattle's ears.  We had to give up for the night, but at least we got them settled.  J and T2 did have to do a little hunting to find one mama that had gotten separated from her calf so they didn't break a fence in the night trying to find each other but they managed to do it.  The next day I had to go back to town to go to work.

After working, I headed back out to the farm and found the J, B, T2 and one of our other nephews W just finishing up with the cattle.  The got them all sorted and the cattle for the west pasture hauled away.  Everything was ready to go to brand the next day.  We headed back to the other farm to check on the colt. It was the first time I had seen her and it broke my heart.  The coyote had really done a number on her.  It attacked her rear end and had ripped her up very badly.  Her right hipbone was visible through the wound but she's a fighter.  She was up and walking around and eating well.  And she's gorgeous!  Thankfully she has a really gentle mama so we get easily get into the stall and clean and doctor her when needed.  I love the name B picked for her too.  Because the horses are purebred, their names often have a  bit of their parents name in it as well making it easy to follow the line back. (ie Silver and Gold to Silver Warrior to Warrior Princess)  The colt's mom is names Penny so B named her Penny Many Wounds.  I took some pictures of her about 18 hours after the attack.  Warning, the images are graphic.  The black/dark blue inside the wounds is bactine for pain and to prevent infection.  Just remember, she is doing very well.

Left leg after coyote attack.  
Right leg after coyote attack
Mama and Baby 
Sunday, we decided to brand.  It was a week earlier than we had planned but the cattle were getting restless and hay was starting to run low.  Better to get it done early and move them to the pasture with loads of fresh grass.  The only bad part with this was that the rest of the family had not planned on being out there until next weekend.  They all managed to rearrange their schedules to make it out and by the time they got there we were ready to go.  One of the great parts of my nephews getting older (and bigger!  Holy have they grown) is that they are more than capable of jumping in to help us now. J and B got se up on the calf table while T2 and I made a plan to push the calves.  Usually J and I do this job but it's time for T2 to learn the ropes.  I loaded the calves in the chute and moved them forward and then T2 would take them one at a time and load them into the calf table to be branded/vaccinated etc.  W learned how to vaccinate this year and did a great job.  T2 was so awesome with the calves, who were exceptionally big this year.  He took a good kick in the chest at one point but kept on going with a smile on his face.  We got done in record time this year.  The best part for me was watching one of the dogs work.  Kobe is a two-year-old Border Collie.  She was bred to work animals, but she has had no training with them yet.  The most she has been taught is sit, come and where she is able to wander on the farm and where is off limits (such as the road).  I was to busy working to grab my phone and film her working but it was amazing to see.  No one told her what to do.  She sat in the alley and watched us for the first few calves and then suddenly it was like everything clicked for her.  She would lie in the alley with one eye one the calves in the pen that were finished one one eye on the calf in the table.  When the calf in the table was finished, she would jump up and lead it into the pen with the other animals.  She kept a watchful eye on them and got it in her head that they all needed to stay together in the far corner of the pen.  If one began to wander away from the rest, she would jump and and herd it back with the others.  She never barked once or nipped at any of the calves.  It was amazing to watch really.  Pure instinct.  She's going to be one heck of a cattle dog.

After 3 long days of working with the cattle and the horses J and I were exhausted so we headed back to town.  That night we got the call that a second colt had been attacked.  Thank goodness this one wasn't as bad.  It has a fighter for a mama and she beat them off before they could do too much damage.

Since I already had the long weekend off, we decided to go back out to the farm for the long weekend anyway and do some fix up jobs that had been neglected over time.  Everyone came out with their trailers and tents and we had a very productive weekend.  Me, J and the kids rebuilt a couple of the corrals and cleaned up a bunch of wood that was lying around.  It was so great to get down and dirty and work hard, eat amazing food and sit by the campfire and visit each night.
J and the boys hard at work on the corral
Finished corral

Sunday we decided we had had enough of building fences so we decided to move the horses from the lake up to the other pasture out west.  That involved moving them across the road from the lake, behind the house and into the round pen where we could load them up into the trailer to move.  In the past this hasn't been the most difficult challenge, but with the attacks this year those mares where high strung and skittish.  We made a plan of how to do things and went into action.  
A few of the herd at the lake before we moved them

We dropped of J's sister and one of the boys down the road a little ways to keep them from turning and J's mom and I took our post a little further up the road.  W haltered Penny and brought her out to the gate by the lake to lead the herd across.  That kid was amazing.  Here he was holding this incredibly strong animal who wanted nothing more than to get back to her baby and he kept her under control and kept his cool.  After a few tries we finally got the herd to follow W and Penny and that kid just took off running to show them where to go.  Thank goodness we got them across the road safely as some cars just didn't pay attention to what was going on.  One we got them in the pasture behind the house, things fell apart.  One of the mares was being very uncooperative and kept breaking away and causing the herd to scatter.  Poor W was working so hard to keep Penny under control and she just kept spinning around him and nipping at him constantly.  One of the colts took a hard tumble when the herd turned but she got up and kept on running.  I watched the poor little one who had been attacked take a hard step into a badger hole and open up it's scab pretty good.  As frustrating as it was, it was a thing of beauty to watch.  There's something about a herd of horses running that is just beautiful.  I wish I could have stopped to take a picture.  One of the coolest things I saw was my one nephew outrun a horse.  One of the mares cut from the herd and ran towards him full tilt.  He waved his arms to try to get her to turn but she wasn't stopping.  I thought for sure she would get past him and we'd have to start over but he turned and took off running, got ahead of her and managed to turn her back to the herd and the right direction.  After a while, we finally got them moved and into the round pen where they could settle for a bit and have a rest before we loaded them to move.  Those poor babies were so tired!  They just laid out where ever there was some grass and took a nap.  I took the time to play with Jack a bit and pet T's horse Appy.  
Simple Jack and a baby bunny

I love it at the farm.  I would be happy to stay there all the time!  It's so peaceful out there and I love the hard work.  Here's a few more pics from the weekend.
Our home away from home
The kids decided to make Smores by wrapping the whole thing in tinfoil...
The result of the Smore attempt...
J was playing fetch with the dogs and got the toy stuck on the power line.  B got the tractor to help him get it down. Please don't attempt this yourself.  They are trained "professionals"
The dogs after a long game of fetch...all tuckered out
The view over the lake every night.  This is why I love being a farm girl.

Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo 2012: Day 3

I didn't want to take so long to write this post but the con really wiped me out.  I guess I should have booked one more day off work so I could catch up on some rest.  Lesson learned for next year?  Anyway, without further ado, here's my day 3.

Day 3

After the bit of a fiasco that was Saturday, we decided it was best to get up early again and head to the BMO center early.  I got up around 6 and checked the Twitter feed and saw they were advising people to be there around 9.  We got dressed, packed our stuff and checked out of the hotel and were at the grounds by 8:30.  (Yes, I remembered to wear my necklaces.)  What a difference a day makes!  The organizers had really rallied over night and things were way better.  They separated the pass holders from those buying/redeeming badges and shuffled us into the autograph/food court area to wait for the main doors to open.  The vibe in the room was a million times more positive than the day before.  We found a seat at a table with on old University friend and did a little wandering before the main doors opened.

Once the doors opened it was nice to see they had added signage on where to walk through the congested areas.  We headed straight for the Boyce Theatre so we could get a seat for the Battlestar Galactica panel at 11.  This was the one thing that D, R, J and I could NOT miss.  J and I took D and R to the BSG panel at our first con and got them hooked on the show.  It's really a tie that binds us.  Plus with Aaron Douglas there again this year we knew we had to be there.  Once again the organization improvements were very apparent.  They told people at the back of the line when the room was full well ahead of time so that they didn't wait for nothing.  Once inside we got amazing seats just on the edge of the VIP area.  The labeling on the VIP area was a little misleading and some of the volunteers had to deal with a few snarky people that they asked to move but over all it was ok.  There was a woman sitting next to me who was a media member from the US.  She had moved down a few seats and lost her Blackberry in the process.  It was great to see everyone rally around her and help to find it.  Turns out it had fallen in the crack of J's chair and we eventually found it for her right before the panel started.  She was so excited and everyone around us clapped when we found it.

The panel was just as amazing as we thought it would be.  Aaron Douglas, Katee Sackoff and Richard Hatch are amazingly funny people and they entertained us.  Richard Hatch told a story about having an intimate dream about Katee and it became a running gag through the panel.  Aaron talked about how he felt that our little con was amazingly well run and he would gladly come back every year.  So say we all!

  Once the amazing panel was over, we decided to go get something to eat.  We found a place making wraps and sandwiches that were really good and fast, despite being crazy expensive.  I was really getting tired of line ups and decided that as much as I would have loved to see Jim Cummings panel I didn't want to stand still anymore.  So we wandered, took a ton of pictures and met some amazing people.  J posed for a picture with a 4-year-old who was wearing a "Shiny, let's be bad guys" shirt.  J put his hat on the kids head for the picture and the kid was so excited.  His dad told J later that his son believed that J was the real Jayne!  I love kids at cons.

We went back to Max Brooks' booth to quiz him on my name and posed for a pic with him.  He has got to be one of he nicest people I have ever met.  I waited until his line was short before jumping in.  He was posing for pictures with his fans behind his table and that's what I expected when I got up there.  I asked if he would mind taking a pic and crouched a little so he could stay seated behind his table but he jumped up and came out from behind his booth, pushed through the crowd and posed with me in front of his table.  A moment |I won't soon forget.

I could tell that we were getting to then end of our con experience as we were all getting a little tired and grumpy.  After getting separated for a bit, we found each other in the food court and D and I decided that we would head for the Corral for the last panel of the day, Sir Patrick Stewart.  J and R decided to join us so we made the long cross of the floor to the panel area and posed for pics on the way.  We got there about half way through James Marsters panel and I was totally ok with sitting and watching him.  That man looks fabulous!  Patrick Stewart was good, but you could tell he was getting very tired after a long weekend.  Once his panel was over, the hall was closed so we had to make the long walk back to the car.  This was the moment the weight of my skirt really started to get to me.  I'm pretty impressed I made it as long as I did in that thing.  I still have welts on my sides from it three days later.  R ran to the car and grabbed my bag so I could change before the ride home.  One of the best moments of the weekend happened at a gas station on the way home when some guys ran up to R (still in his Waldo outfit) and wanted a picture.  They hadn't even heard of the Expo and thought they had won a radio contest or something.

It was, all in all, a fabulous weekend.  I am very impressed at how the organizers rallied to fix things after disaster struck.  I got some big checks off my bucket list and I can't wait for next year!  Now to plan my cosplay....hmmm how to top Lulu.  Good thing I've got a year to go!  I'll leave you with a few more shots from Sunday.

Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo 2012: Day 2

Things were so crazy yesterday I didn't get a chance to post so be prepared for a long one about Saturday and Sunday at the Expo!

Day 2:

As tradition dictates, I got up around 6 am to start getting into my costume before everyone else as mine took longer to get ready then everyone else.  This year's line up of cosplay included me as Lulu from Final Fantasy X, J as a new and improved version of his Jayne from Firefly that he did last year, R as Waldo of Where's Waldo? fame, and D as Amy Pond from Doctor Who in "The Beast Below" episode.

We headed down to the Expo around 8:30 and there was a bit of confusion as to where we were supposed to go but we ended up herded down to the corral.  I did enjoy the pre-show entertainment in the corral, but I got separated from D, R and J.  The were sent up into the stands and I was directed to sit on the floor as it was very difficult for me to climb stairs in my costume.  Luckily I was sitting with a really nice gentleman dressed as Doctor Jones who had broken his foot.  You could see the cracks in organization beginning to form at this point.  People who were there earlier were seated higher in the Corral while those who arrived just before the doors opened got to sit on the floor much closer to the doors than those who came earlier.  There was no separation between people who had purchased advanced passes and those who still needed to purchase resulting in a bit of a cluster.  We managed to find each other when the crowd just started moving wherever they wanted to.  I got the impression there were quite a few people who were upset that they arrived early and were sent to sit higher and farther away from the doors than those who came later.  I felt really bad for the poor volunteer who was trying very hard to keep the crowd moving and seated, but he was very young and people just ignored him.

We decided that since we had done most of our important stuff the day before not to fight the crowds to much and just take the opportunity to pose for some photos and check out other people's costumes until the sea of people parted a bit.  We eventually got inside and wandered for a little bit before heading to the Boyce Theatre for the voice actors panel.  We waited to long to get in line however and didn't make it into the room.  Lesson learned.  Get in line for a panel super early or miss out.  That was totally our fault and we knew it.  So we did what any other cosplayer would do and wandered the floor trying to bring a few smiles to peoples faces.  Our plan was to have R photobomb as much as humanly possible the rest of the weekend.  People LOVED it.  We did get a little tired of hearing "Found You!" constantly all weekend, but it was all in good fun.  R even saw someone post on Tumblr later that weekend that the highlight of their Expo experience was playing Where's Waldo in the Corral and looking for him in the crowd.  Around noon-ish, J and I stepped outside to cool off a bit as I was overheating and needed a quick break.  The crowd outside was enormous!  There were thousands of people lined up down the street waiting to get in.  We headed back inside and made it to the ticket area at the main entrance to the Corral when they suddenly closed the gates in front of us.  Rumors began to circulate through the crowd.  "Oversold" and "Over-capacity" were the terms flying around.  We heard that we may not get back in.  You could feel the tension in the room beginning to mount.  I was seriously worried there was going to be a riot on there hands and we were trapped like cattle in a holding pen.  There were A TON of people jammed in that room.  I totally understand why the Fire Marshall shut things down.  My Twitter was blowing up with irate people in the line farther back.  We figured if we just waited for a bit and a few more people left we could get back inside.  I texted R and told him and D what was going on and NOT to leave the hall no matter what.  Then they closed the doors behind us as well.  I was really getting overheated now and I had no water (it was with D) and that room started to feel awfully small and really crowded.  I began to feel faint.  J inched us closer to the wall area where there were some tables set up so we would have left people around us but I was really getting worried that I was going to faint.  Just when I was about to declare a medical emergency, they opened the gates and let those of us in the "holding cell" back into the room.  We found R and D and had a happy little reunion.  Luckily we were only in that room for about 20 minutes.  We heard later that many others were not so lucky.  There were a lot of people turned away and even more who waited for 3 or 4 hours to get back in.  Let me tell you, the mood it that place changed on a dime!  People get very grumpy and short with each other.  We did our best to brighten each other's moods and those around us but it was crazy!

J really wanted to go to the Adam Baldwin panel so he and I went to line up (about an hour before it started)  We jumped in at the end of the Amanda Tapping line so we would be near the front for the next seating.  Everyone was talking about the lockdown.  At one point a very nice volunteer came by to let the people in the Amanda Tapping line know that the panel was running later starting.  He had a counter in his hand and clicked them all off and let them know that they would get in.  More confusion.  Her panel was supposed to start at 1 and it was now almost 1:30.  Then a lady came by and told everyone that the panel was full.  In fact, it seems like it was full and going for a while at that point.  I thought there was going to be another riot.  They moved us forward for the Baldwin line up.  The line started to get really long so they split it off about 15 people behind us and moved the "second line" way down the hall and closer the the Boyce than we were.  Then the rumblings started in our line that we were going to get screwed and not seated as they had us father away and potentially would forget about us.  Thank goodness there was a woman volunteer there who was very loud and very organized.  She made sure that then line was counted off correctly and told people when it was full before we had even been seated so they didn't end up waiting for no reason.  Now this is where we are considerate Con-goers.  R and D had gone to get some food and it took longer than anticipated.  When they came and counted off the line, they hadn't arrived back so they didn't come with us to the panel.  No line jumping for us. They went and watched the costume contest instead.  That way 2 people father back in the line wouldn't end up without a seat.

Adam Baldwin's panel was quite enjoyable.  He's quite a funny guy and it was neat to see him in real life.  We had great seats and i was nice to relax for a bit.  After the panel we went to the Costume Contest.  I was a little disappointed with it this year as it seemed very short and not many entrants.  (From what I heard later there were a few people who had entered but were unable to attend due to the lockdown)  There were some great costumes and some pretty awesome skits as well.  I really enjoyed the Jay and Silent Bob/Mortal Kombat crossover where Jay and Silent Bob pretended to play the game and the Mortal Kombat guys enacted it.  My favorite was the Lego Star Wars Darth Maul whose costume "fell apart" just like in the Lego games.  Fantastic!

After the contest we wandered the floor for a while more and made the decision not to leave.  Initially we had intended to leave around 4 or 5 and go back to the hotel, change and eat before the TNG EXPOsed that night, but we were worried about getting back in.  We decided not to risk it and stayed there (in costume) through the rest of the evening.  I decided to go back to Linsner and pick up my commission.  He was so gracious.  He flipped to the sketch he had done for me of Dawn and I loved it!  He asked me about what got me interested in Dawn and his artwork in general.  We talked about how I loved that he drew women "real"  I told him that my favorite piece of work was the one that showed a little tummy roll on her and that I appreciated how he made the one woman in comic books who deserved to be perfect, real.  He took my sketch out of his book and added color to it while we talked.  He didn't have to do that and I didn't pay for color.  I was so very impressed by him.  I have to admit, I was very leery to meet him.  I have loved him from afar for so long I was very worried that he would not live up to my expectations.  (They say never meet your hero's right?)  Thankfully he exceeded everything I hoped he would be.

We wandered the floor some more, met some awesome Cosplayers, posed for countless photos and had a good time.  I was amazed at how well my costume was holding up, even if my train was getting filthy from being stepped on constantly.  Around 4:30 we ran into a volunteer who loved my costume.  He asked if he could take a picture and requested that I do the victory pose.  That was the moment I came to a crushing realization.  I had spent the whole day wandering the con and I had forgotten to put on my necklaces!  I was wearing an unfinished piece of work.  How did I let that happen!

The Expo came to a close and we jumped in line for TNG EXPOsed.  We had seats way up in the nosebleeds which wasn't an issue until I realized how many stairs I would have to climb in that belt skirt.  I got quite the work out!  We settled in and waited for the show to start.  The pre-show was entertaining with a couple of Trek guests and a cute video of celebs at other cons discussing Next Gen.  Once the video ended they told us there was going to be a half hour "intermission" before the show started.  Once again, there was the threat of a riot.  People were not pleased to wait and I heard plenty of grumbling that they should have started the show later instead of having an intermission.  I was inclined to agree, but R used to time to go get me some food at the concession since I hadn't eaten at all that day and was starting to feel it again.  The show itself was fabulous.  The highlights for me were the surprise appearance of John Delancie and the "sick kid from Vancouver" Aaron Douglas.  The exchange between Douglas and Wheaton was priceless.  We really enjoyed the show.  Once it was over though, I was ready for bed!  We headed back to the hotel and called it a night.

Here's a few photo's of our Day 2:
Day 3 to come tomorrow...